Internship | Characterizing & Modelling Typical (Highway) Driving Interactions

What do a puppy and a self-driving car have in common? They both need to be “socialized”, so they can correctly interact with people.



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

Driving is a form of social interaction mediated by technology (i.e., the vehicle). Anyone that that has a driving license knows that there is a large different between actuating a vehicle (i.e., setting a car in motion, changing lanes, or taking a turn) and being able to operate a vehicle safely in traffic.Driving safely in traffic requires more than following traffic rules. It requires understanding different traffic situations, interpreting other driver’s actions and cues, and interacting with them in socially acceptable ways (e.g., opening a gap to let another driver merge in front of our vehicle, touching the brakes to express the desire to stop, etc.). In contrast, asocial driving leads to irritation, confusion and, potentially, to higher collision risks.If social driving is a skill learned by practice and not codified by traffic rules, how then should we “teach” autonomous vehicle to drive socially in mixed traffic (i.e., traffic that combines automated and non-automated vehicles)?

This MSc project aims to achieve two objectives: (I) to develop a taxonomy of typical human driving interactions in highway scenarios. (II) to develop data-based models of such typical interactions using machine learning or statistical approaches.
The assignment includes:
  • Review of the state-of-the-art with respect to modelling human driving interactions;
  • Develop a taxonomy of typical human driving interactions in highway scenarios;
  • Collect data from experiments and/or naturalistic driving;
  • Develop data-based models of the mentioned interactions using the TNO tooling;
  • Validate the models via experiments (using TNO’s StreetLive platform).

What do we require of you?

To be successful on this project you require a mix of soft and hard skills. Among the former, you should be self-reliant, driven, open minded, comfortable with abstract work and able to communicate with colleagues with different backgrounds. Among you hard skills, you should be familiar with vehicular technology and traffic concepts, able to program in Python or C++, have familiarity with machine learning algorithms or statistical analysis (or be willing to learn).

The projects fits a typical 10-month MSc thesis project based on full time availability. We require you to work in Helmond at the TNO office to enable you to work with our tools and to have short communication lines. You should also be willing to travel to the TNO office in the Hague in an eventual basis.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness. 

You will work at the Traffic and Transport Unit of TNO. You will be formally attached to the Integrated Vehicle Safety (IVS) department located at the Automotive Campus in Helmond. It is expected that you may need to also collaborate with TNO colleagues from the Sustainable Urban Mobility and Safety (SUMS) department located in the Hague. At IVS you will find datasets and software tooling necessary to model traffic interactions and to test your ideas on TNO’s StreetLive platform. At SUMS you will find more specialize knowledge on traffic safety concepts.Both department provide very dynamic work environments that will allow you to interact with young, enthusiastic and driven researchers like you. You will work in an open area, within your own team. One of our employees will be your mentor, who will help you to get acquainted with the department and give you guidelines for your research in order to help you to get the best out of it.

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; an internship gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your internship and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable internship compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Due to Covid-19 and the consequent uncertainties and restrictions, students who are not residing in the Netherlands may currently not be able to start an internship or graduation project at TNO.

Contact: Arturo Tejada Ruiz
Phone number: +31 (0)6-142 71570

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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